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But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. (Philippians 2:17)
Paul has taken the readers from the application of practical Christianity (vv. 12-13) to positive steadfastness (vv. 14-16), and now will finish this series of applications with a view of his personal joy (vv. 17-18). He is writing to the Philippian believers from the prison cell and is seeking to encourage them with the message of holding on to joy in adverse circumstances.
In the other Prison Letters, Paul carried a very positive anticipation of being released. In the Letter to the Philippians, he seems to carry an attitude that he might face death. He has often expressed an attitude that he would live until the return of Christ – an attitude that should drive every believer. But, here (as in chapter 1), Paul takes a stance of being ready for death, yet not seeking it.
He hopes to come and see the Philippian believers again, but in the event of his death, he sees it as an offering to God. The words in the Greek passive tense for being poured out signify that he is being sacrificed, and it is something that someone would do to him. He is considering now that he may be facing execution.
The drink offering is one of the earliest offerings given in Scripture. Jacob in Genesis 35:14 offers a drink offering – “And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it.” It was detailed in Leviticus and Numbers. In the Old Testament, we learn that the drink offering was added to the burnt and meal offerings, but never to the sin or trespass offerings. It was an unusual offering because it had nothing to do with the person of Christ or redemption. It was poured on the sacrifice and was consumed by the fire, and it basically went up in steam. Drink offering. (σπένδω spendō) This was an offering of wine that was poured out on the altar and offered with most other offerings. Here Paul is using it figuratively to show his readiness to fully give of himself for fellow Christians. (Nu 15:5, 7; Php 2:17) Paul’s love had pushed him to work hard, diligently on behalf of the Philippians in his public service to them.
Paul compared his life and service to Christ as that – steam that would vanish away. Christ was THE sacrifice, and all we do is like that drink offering, a part, but dissolved in steam. Paul wanted to be so consumed by Christ that Jesus would obscure all he did. He wanted Christ to receive all the honor and glory.
The service of your faith in the Greek (λειτουργία leitourgia) means a Priest ministering during the sacrifice. Paul is saying that his being offered as a sacrifice alongside the supreme sacrifice with the ministry of the faith of the Philippian believers is a great possibility. This is not saddening to Paul, quite the contrary. He saw it as something that brought him joy and caused him to find joy with them.
 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. V, V vols. (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 1983). Page 307.